The statue of Louis XIV on horseback majestically overlooks the Courtyard of Honour at Château de Versailles. He was the king who paid tribute to our wines, declaring, “Saint-Émilion, nectar of the gods”. Saint-Émilion wines owe their popularity to their outstanding terroirs and because they meet very demanding requirements which enables them to reach exceptional levels of quality.
In fact, this energy and innovation are intimately linked to the life and history of this ancestral winegrowing place, because here in 1884, the first winegrowers’ union in France was founded. In 1936, the “Saint- Émilion” AOC was officially recognised. In 1954 came three more: Saint- Émilion Grand Cru, Saint- Émilion Grand Cru Classé and Saint- Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé.
Before that in 1948, the first wine quality inspection by tasting was introduced, which two years later in 1950 led to a classification of the wines in the appellation area. In 1952, a set of classification rules was drafted in agreement with the French National Institute of Appellations (INAO). And the classification was ratified in 1955.
What makes this classification powerful and so original is that it is revised every 10 years. It effectively stimulates all Saint- Émilion winegrowers to seek the best possible quality in their wines. The 2012 classification was the sixth since the first in 1955. After ten months of painstaking work, it listed 82 properties, including 64 Grands Crus Classés and 18 Premiers Grands Crus Classés.